While the All-Star Break provided a rest for the Madison Mallards, this weekend surely a change
of pace. After treacherous weather postponed the Mallards’ Thursday night game, they were
forced to play a double-header on Friday. The Mallards were able to come out with one of the
victories against the Eau Claire Express. Most importantly, they were able to save their energy
for Saturday’s double-header against the La Crosse Loggers, winning both games in decisive
In the first game, the Mallards jumped out to an early 2-0 lead thanks to a bases loaded 2 RBI
single by catcher Adam Davis in the bottom of the first inning. Davis finished the game with
the lone hit, but managed another RBI in the third inning, scoring infielder Reed Gargnani and
giving Davis his 29th RBI of the season.
The story of the game was Gargnani, who went 3-for-4 with both of his runs coming off of Davis.
Gargnani picked up his sixth double of the season and now has two straight multi-hit games.
More impressively, Gargnani has only six hitless games since June 22.
Mallard’s infielder Jon Pierre Garcia’s solo homerun in the bottom of the sixth inning proved to
be the nail in the coffin for the Loggers, as they went on to lose 4-1. Junior pitcher Matt Morgan
picked up his third win of the season for the Mallards, while pitcher J.R. Graham picked up his
fourth save of the year.
The win enabled the Mallards to head into their second game of the day with a much deserved
sense of confidence. Just like in their first game, the Mallards pounced all over La Crosse
early, expect this time they didn’t stop. Mallard’s outfielder Harold Riggins drove in 2 runs in the
bottom of the first inning, with infielder Jacob Esch also driving in one run. The hit by Riggins
marked the 32nd straight game he has reached base safely, which leads the league.
The onslaught continued as the Mallards batted around the order in the second inning, putting
up six runs off of four hits. Four of the runs in the second inning came off of Garcia’s grand
slam, which marked his second home run of the double header. As if the Mallards needed any
more runs, they continued to pour them on with a three-run inning in the fifth. The Mallards
ended up crushing the Loggers 12-1. Mallard’s pitcher Matt LaMothe finished the game with 4
strikeouts, picking up his third win of the season. Reliever Nick Rice picked up the save, his first
of the season.
While the bats were hot in both games, especially the second game, the pitching was even
better. As a matter of fact, in their four games since the All-Star Break, the Mallards have only
given up a total of four runs, which is something manager C.J. Thielke is impressed by.
“It all begins with starting pitching,” Thieleke said. “Our last four starters [LaMothe, Morgan,
Uriegas and Shellhorn] are all providing the team with an effective top of the rotation and that’s
what we’re looking for.”
This weekend not only proved to be huge in the standings for the Mallards, moving them into
third place in the division, it also provided a chance for manager Thielke to get a look at some of
the guys on his bench.
“The guys showed great energy,” Thielke said. “It was exciting to see guys, who don’t always
play, produce for us. I think it says a lot about the kind of depth we have on this team.”
The Mallards look to extend their win streak to four games heading into their final game of the
series against La Crosse Sunday night. With a win, they could move into a tie for second place
with the Wisconsin Woodchucks, setting them up nicely for a possible playoff-birth.